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The biggest, blackest housefly just dropped down on Serendipity┬╣s laptop keyboard. Between the letters y and u. Without her contactsÔÇ╣ she never wore them after midnight and it was at least 2 a. m.ÔÇ╣ it looked like a fat black period. Or a shrunken, drunken bungee jumper. It didn┬╣t even flap when she jiggled the keyboard, but slid further down to the n and m. Some kind of omen? Psychic seal of approval on her highest priority complaint all ready to email Condominium Spice?
Before Serendipity tapped one more time for spell check, she flicked the fly back into the air with a giant yellow and black striped plastic paper clip. For a moment it hovered like a friendly police helicopter, then it vanished into the murky expanses of her apartment. Serendipity was nonplused, had grown to expect such intrusions ever since she moved into this turn-of-the-nineteenth-century factory with cracks in the wooden ceiling and holes in the wooden floor. The nonprofit realtor claimed it┬╣d been renovated. Of course, Serendipity didn┬╣t hear the fine print: ┬│For fools and wannabe artist types like you.┬▓
Artist. Ah-choo! The very thought made Serendipity sneeze. She was nothing less than an investigative reporter, a muckraker, a stringer for Serious Times: viruses in her SPAM, crank telemarketers on automatic phone redial. Even snail mail made her itch all over.
"Got allergies? Asian flu?" her HMO had quacked.
"No. Just interesting times," Serendipity had wheezed.
Interesting. That┬╣s what Serendipity thought hugging her laptop. At 3 a.m. She┬╣d just written to Condominium Spice in Washington, D.C. "Foam Security Bleeped!" What a headline.
For months since the female carpenter (excuse me, sculptor) moved in below, Serendipity awoke to moans and groans, screams and screeches in the middle of the night. At first, Serendipity asked herself, "Is she in pain, in ecstasy or in a nightmare?" Then Serendipity answered herself, "She's the nightmare. I'm in pain. Like God, there is no ecstasy."
Next, Serendipity thought she'd do tit for tat, answer ruckus with ruckus. Then she remembered the walls of Jericho: "I live in a turn-of-the-nineteenth-century shed, I mean, factory."
Finally, Serendipity succumbed to her American Heritage. For weeks from midnight to dawn she endured her neighbor's "All Blue" on the CD player. Twenty-one consecutive times each night. For weeks she listened to the same murder mystery video with the same telephone rings and the same muffled screams and the same throat gurgles. Until tonight. Serendipity heard an extra set of screams. It sent her flying to her laptop. "Dear Condominium Spice."
What was that? Another yowl from her neighbor┬╣s snake pit? No, too loud. Yeeeeeeeoooooooooh!
Too close! The midnight scream flew out of Serendipity's own mouth! Like a bat out of hell? No! A bat flying down! Kamikaze Kung-Foo style! Damn turn-of-the-nineteenth-century roof full of holes!
Serendipity back flipped out her chair, landed head first onto her ergonomic futon, then crawled under two queen-size pillows. In a blink she was out like a light. No more bumps and thumps in the night that night. Maybe a few stars.

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